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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 28, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: president obama is warning state quarantine rules could undermine efforts to stop the spread of ebola. we look at how the epidemic is affecting business and trade worldwide. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. and i'm judy woodruff, also ahead this tuesday: the money, the finger-pointing, and the hostile t.v. ads in north carolina's hotly contested race that could help decide control of the senate. >> it's kind of depends on how you view politics. some people view it as a sport, right? so it's my team verse your team, so whoever has the most money can have a better ground game, because now you need money for television, print, social media and everything else. >> ifill: then, with shifting
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front lines in iraq, the displaced are on the move, struggling to stay one step ahead of the advances of islamic state militants. those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work.
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>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: from president obama today, a new call for caution in the response to ebola. he urged states not to enforce policies that suggest the u.s. is "shying away" from the fight. the warning came as another dallas nurse was declared free of the deadly disease. >> woodruff: amber vinson was all smiles at atlanta's emory university hospital this morning. >> as a nurse, and now as someone who has experienced what it's like to be cared for through a life-threatening illness, i am so appreciative
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and grateful for your exceptional skill, warmth and care. >> woodruff: the 29-year-old vinson is the second of two dallas nurses to be cured of ebola. they caught the virus from thomas eric duncan, a liberian man who died at a texas hospital. dr. bruce ribner oversaw vinson's care at emory, but he concedes, there are still unanswered questions. >> we are not aware of the specific details of what occurred in the dallas facility or how transmission occurred in that environment. >> woodruff: equally unclear, just how vinson recovered so quickly. to that, the doctor said: "the honest answer is, we're not exactly sure." another nurse, kaci hickox, was back in maine today after being held in an isolation tent at a newark, new jersey hospital. she treated ebola patients in sierra leone, but has shown no symptoms herself.
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authorities in maine said she'll remain quarantined at home, but her attorney insisted no such arrangement is in place. leading health officials have warned that quarantines may deter doctors and nurses from going to west africa to help. >> america cannot look like it is shying away because other people are watching what we do. >> woodruff: at the white house today, president obama said the medical volunteers should be applauded and supported, but he also defended the decision to quarantine u.s. soldiers who serve in the ebola zone. >> the military is in a different situation obviously because they are first of all not treating patients. second of all, they are not there voluntarily. it's part of their mission that's been assigned to them by their commanders and ultimately by me, the commander in chief. so we don't expect to have similar rules for our military as we do for civilians.
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>> woodruff: in addition, the pentagon said the joint chiefs are recommending that all service branches quarantine their troops who serve in west africa. overall, the world health organization estimates 10,000 people have been infected there, but the head of the u.n. ebola mission warned today the true number could be far higher. anthony banbury told the associated press: in the face of that uncertainty, the president of liberia, ellen johnson sirleaf, appealed anew for outside help. she said the world must recognize that ebola poses "a global threat." >> woodruff: president obama plans to meet tomorrow with public health workers who've been to west africa, or plan to go. >> ifill: thousands of mourners in canada paid respects today to corporal nathan cirillo, the soldier killed in last week's shooting attack in ottawa.
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crowds lined the streets of hamilton, ontario as throngs of military personnel somberly escorted cirillo's coffin to the funeral service at an anglican cathedral. there, prime minister stephen harper joined in remembering the soldier's life and sacrifice. >> our hearts are broken at his loss, but our spirits are grateful for his memory. corporal cirillo knew what all the men and women who died before him also knew. the only values really worth living for, are those worth dying for. >> ifill: corporal cirillo was one of two soldiers killed in separate attacks last week by what police said were islamist radicals. the funeral for the other victim, warrant officer patrice vincent, will be saturday in quebec. secretary of state john kerry met today with prime minister harper to convey american condolences.
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the homeland security department said today it is response to call terror groups >> woodruff: a college friend of the accused boston marathon bomber was convicted today of lying to f.b.i. agents. a federal jury found robel phillipos guilty of not telling the truth about being in dzhokar tsarnaev's dorm room three days after the bombing. two other friends of tsarnaev removed a backpack containing evidence. philippos faces up to 16 years in prison. >> ifill: kurdish "peshmerga" fighters from iraq are now headed to syria, hoping to slow the advance of "islamic state" forces. the kurds deployed today from irbil in northern iraq. they'll cross turkish territory en route to the besieged town of kobani, just inside syria. a large convoy with heavy weapons was seen driving through irbil today.
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kurdish officials in syria said the force also includes about 150 fighters. >> woodruff: yard by yard, a slow-moving stream of lava closed in on homes today on hawaii's "big island." the molten rock began oozing from kilauea volcano in june. the flow has consumed roads and burned vegetation along its way, and today, it crossed onto residential property in the village of pahoa. evacuation orders have gone out, and officials plan to close several schools. >> ifill: on wall street, stocks racked up new gains on the strength of improved corporate earnings and consumer confidence. the dow jones industrial average was up nearly 188 points to close at 1,705. the nasdaq rose 78 points to close at 4,564. and the s-and-p 500 added 23, to finish at 1,985. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: north carolina's closely fought senate race; the influence of third party candidates on the midterm
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elections; iraq's displaced search for safe refuge; how ebola is affecting business and trade worldwide; tracking americans' mail delivered by the u.s. postal service; a thriller details the heist of a lifetime, breaking into the federal reserve bank. >> ifill: early voting has already begun in key states that could determine the balance of the senate, and the direction the nation may be heading in the final two years of the obama presidency. one of those states is north carolina, where a democratic senator is defending her seat in a state the latest polls show could go either way. for most north carolina voters, this is what next week's senate election as boiled down to. >> kay hagan enabled president obama's worst ideas she refuses
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to clean up his mess. >> she's a hypocrite covering up from missing critical votes. >> senator kay hagan says she puts views first. we votes with bam obama. >> running an ad that lot our soldiers die in vein. >> 90,000 ads. up to $100 million spent. slashing messages from democrat kay hagan. >> north carolina is not for sale. >> how are you doing? >> ifill: from challenger thom tillis the republican speaker of the north carolina house. >> we need independentlier ship that will stand up to your own party when you disagree. >> we're going to win. >> ifill: the political poll has prepared hagan who was first selected the year president obama won north carolina and
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tillis who came to power in 2010 after republicans took over the state house for the first time since reconstruction in to a genuine final week dead heat. at duke stanford school of public policy. >> turn out is going to be key for hagan for her in order to win. there's not going to be a turn out like there was among minority voters and younger voters for obama. but she's got to get some of that vote. >> this is not 2008. >> not even 2012 this is a smaller, white are, older, richer, electorate but she's got to get some of that vote out. >> ifill: at this weekend's state fair, the voters we talked to had already made up their minds. she is for tillis. >> as in all campaigns there's a lot of mud slinging going on,
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unfortunately. which doesn't interest me. i want to know what the candidate is going to do, what they're not going to do, their believes, what they stand on. >> ifill: andy jones and his friends are sticking with the democrats. >> i like kay hagan, i like that she has experience. i think that the amount of money that is poured in to this race with television ads is kind of silly. it's become a very hateful, just throwing mud at each other and seeing what sticks, i think that's silly. >> ifill: it's taken a lot of talk and money for this campaign to go down to simple choice between democrat who would rather talk about education and equal pay and republicans who is anxious to link his opponent toe national issues like ebola and isis. the recurring disagreement was on display as we sat down with both candidates this weekend. >> has put forward the most disastrous legislative record we've seen in north carolina. he is taking our state backwards, what did he he gave tax cuts to the wealthy and
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balanced the budget on the back of everybody else. the middle class, he's rigged the system against small business but he has gutted public education. >> i this this f it's the truth about education we have -- given 7% raise largest raise in a generation. so if all senator hagan has are statewide issues, nothing to point to at the national level that she's proud of, other than rubber stamping president obama 96% of the time, i think she's in trouble with the citizens of north carolina. >> how are you doing. >> ifill: tillis mention mr. obama by name in virtually every sense. never missing the opportunity to link an unpopular president to the state's incumbent president. >> senator hagan, president obama's policy, he said -- >> ifill: does the president hurt your campaign? >> you know, this election is about the people of north carolina. and with the president, i support increasing the minimum wage. i supported his very first bill, my very first bill, the fair pay
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act. but also opposed the president on things that weren't good for north carolina. >> ifill: replacing president obama on the stomp in tight races like this one, hillary clinton. >> elections come down often to who's got more money. who's pedaling more fear. and who turns out. and there is nothing more important for kay than who turns out. >> ifill: tillis has attracted national support including this visit from g.o.p. chairman. >> i know that if we work really hard together that we can get thom over the finish line, not for the party, not for the majority, for power. to do this to help save this country. >> ifill: both candidates are
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getting a tremendous boost from outside groups on the right and the left. from the coch brothers to planned parenthood kicked in more of $70 million. >> north carolina very well made determine the future of the united states senate. this race between kay hagan and thom tillis has been focus for months for us, it is the most important race in the country. >> ifill: to add to the uncertainty third candidate, libertarian sean haugh could tip the balance even if he gets a small percentage of the vote. >> the dynamic, i don't want to vote for the incumbent so i'm looking around who i vote for to the extent you vote for a third party you don't vote for the challenger. >> ifill: thousand of north carolinians descended on lexington for the barbecue vest call. >> spending has gotten so out of
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control at least that i'm one that thinks that states should have more control of the money that they have instead of sending to washington having to do stuff to get it back. >> ifill: and william is one of the thousands of volunteers working the state for hagan. >> the wife and i we found that, thank the lord, showed up, we're here, glad to see you. >> ifill: but the money, the finger pointing, the positives tile television advertising leaves many voters perplexed. >> some view it as a sport, it's my team versus your team, whoever has the money has better ground game. you need money for print. >> the same thing, it's about mitigate and birth control and college funds and -- like one is for the rich one is for the poor.
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>> ifill: this last wild card, new voter i.d. laws that republicans call protection and democrats call suppression, but if that's true in state that both national parties now see as their key to the south. >> woodruff: in north carolina, the libertarian on the ballot could help tip the result. across the country, in at least ten races, both parties are wondering what effect independent and third-party candidates will have. where do they have a chance at winning and where are they just spoilers? and what does it say about our politics when so many of these candidates are getting significant support in the polls even without campaigning? here to help answer some of those questions is jonathan martin of the new york times, who's been reporting on many of these candidates. >> thanks. >> woodruff: which states are we looking at are you looking at when it comes to third party or independent candidates. >> most important one is kansas
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where you've got greg orman an independent running against pat roberts who is republican. this race is very competitive and crucial, i think the most crucial race involving third party candidate because if democrats do lose would give the majority. but senator roberts, could be in the hands of greg orman, never served in office who could decide the fate of the senate. he has not said which party he's caucusing with. he will not support mitch mcconnell or harry reid the two senate leaders. if we have a result next tuesday where this comes down to one state where a third party candidate could very crucial candidates. >> woodruff: so can scan is one. there are some other states where you have libertarians, north carolina where gwen was. >> very important.
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the others are more spoilers i would say. north carolina comes to mind when you have a libertarian who looks to take about 5% right now in the polls that could be really important in a close race. and especially depending where those votes come from, are they coming from the cob servetive side or more liberal side. the florida florida governor's race. don't want either candidate quite frankly. is this a protest vote, a third party to stay a pox on both your houses. last one is the maine governor's race where you have pretty significant third party candidate running there who is taking votes mostly from a democrats who i think otherwise would be in command of this race. >> woodruff: it's not in every case, it's not one party that is suffering from these. >> that's exactly right. >> woodruff: it varies. >> it sure does. >> woodruff: tell us why you -- i saw story you wrote unusually large number ever these candidates this year. why is that? >> well, i think people are so
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fed up with washington, with politics right now that they want to go out on their own, some of them are ideological passions, others are doing it because they truly are unhappy with the two party system. now, it's politics, there is also opportunism. a better path to be viable if you're not tagged with either party label. >> woodruff: talk about how the major parties are dealing with, rand paul who is beloved by libertarians, has been in kansas, which we were just talking about. appealing, saying he's voting for pot roberts he's a republican. what are the republicans doing and what are the democrats doing? >> the republicans are water down some of these libertarian candidates who they feel would take votes from republican candidates in the state. they're doing that by deploying people like rand paul who have a following of libertarians, with both retail campaign event in the state. also airing tv ads for the rand paul tries to appeal to
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libertarians. and maine republicans have an ad that touts third party candidate because they know better he does, the more votes takes from the democrat. it's going on. the democrats, it's a little bit different i think right now they're trying to be careful in kansas because while they that i mr. orman being independent would caucus with them, they don't want to come out too hard for him because that would sort of make him more de facto democratic nominee. >> woodruff: is there a sense that these races if, say, kansas were to go to the independent how much difference does that make in the senate? >> it just depends on how big of a night the republicans have next week. are they going to pick up eight seats next weeks georgia going to a run off. so many unanswered questions that we don't know yet but here is what could be really crucial. if the republicans do not have that big of a night.
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if they pick up some seats but not a wave type here then kansas race becomes crucial. then the question is, the senate 50-50. is it 51-49f. it's that kind of scenario where joe biden could break the tie or get a party switcher then somebody like mr. orman becomes really crucial. in some ways poetic justice to all this a ton of people are so unhappy with the american politics and so unhappy with the two parties, you could have independent empowered to really come to washington and try to shake things up. >> woodruff: as you mentioned in couple of states, these independent libertarian candidates could throw the race in to a run off, delaying if we know how the senate -- >> that's key factor in the georgia senate race, libertarian on the ballot who will get more than 7% on election day that could be heck of a lot of votes and force that race in to a run off which by the way, wouldn't be until january after the next
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congress begins. >> woodruff: week of new year's. >> over time. >> woodruff: jonathan martin and the "new york times," we thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> ifill: now to northern iraq and a growing humanitarian crisis as winter approaches. aid agencies there are struggling to help thousands of families who were driven from their homes over the summer as new waves of syrian kurd refugees arrive daily. special correspondent jane arraf reports. >> reporter: there is a steady stream of traffic across this border from turkey to the kurdish region of iraq. freight trucks and tankers picking up oil. and in the last few days, the latest wave of refugees, syrian kurds from the besieged city of kobane. juma mohammad and his family crossed through turkey to get here.
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and here they finally feel safe. >> ( translated ): we've escaped, from the battle from the hunger, everything. >> reporter: some waited for weeks for iraq's kurdish government to open its borders. they're not sure what's ahead. "we're going to kurdistan, that's all i know," says juma's son khalil. the men say they will make sure their families are safe and then will go back to kobane to fight. but for now they are refugees, with a burning hatred of the islamic state group. >> ( translated ): we left because of the women and children, to save them from those unbelievers. they act as if they are moslem but they are not. if islam were like that we would want to become christian, i swear. >> reporter: most of them left with only what they would need for the journey or what they couldn't live without.
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this is haithem, zakur tells us. he insisted on taking his pigeons when his family fled kobane. ali tells us his brother, who is three, was afraid the birds would be killed in the fighting. >> ( translated ): he cried and cried so my mother said just take them. >> reporter: for his parents it hasn't been easy escaping with four children and three birds in a box. >> ( translated ): i threw them away on the road and he went back to get them. i tried to leave them again and he went back to get them again. these are animals and these animals have a soul. >> reporter: the families are sent initially to overcrowded refugee camps. there are 12,000 refugees from kobane and more arriving every day. displaced iraqis have it even worse. in cities across the north of iraq, thousands of displaced
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families, many from ancient religious minorities, don't have even the walls of a tent. three months ago hundreds of thousands of yazidis escaped from sinjar mountain. they walked down into syria and then back into northern iraq. some of them were the only surviving members of their families and went they got here these construction sites were the only places they have to stay. now winter is coming and most of them are still here. 32 people live in this room, there's no heat or even blankets. just a hard concrete floor and thin mattresses to sleep on. >> reporter: on the higher floors sometimes children fall from the windows. for these kids, so recently living normal lives, school is a dream.
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they long for walls that keep out the cold and for running water. u.n. aid agencies don't have the funding to solve this problem. the kurdish government in an ongoing dispute with the iraqi government, is struggling to pay bills and buy fuel. northwest of mosul, residents of some villages are starting to return. this is near zumar, an area captured by i.s. fighters and retaken by iraqi peshmerga forces in september. a lot of the villagers here have come back to find their houses looted and their livestock gone. people have come here to get bottled water and other items from aid agencies. >> up until now, the attention has focused on the camps and the kurdistan region of iraq but there are substantial unmet needs, many of those who fled
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are trapped between different zones of the conflict, they cant' get out. >> reporter: there's still no electricity here and no clean water. but a lot of the people who fled these surrounding villages to live in schools and overcrowded shelters in the city were desperate to return. just a few weeks ago this was the front line. more and more people are coming back now. they say they don't feel entirely safe and there's not much here. but the main thing is they're back on their land. dangerous for even iraqi aid agencies to operate in. and much too dangerous to transport fuel. sherine, a syrian kurd married to an iraqi has named her eldest daughter yasmin al-shami, syrian jasmine. she says she wants to thank
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president obama for the air strikes she believes have helped save their home. but many worry that this coming winter could be almost as deadly as the fighting. >> woodruff: tonight's "frontline," airing on most p.b.s. stations, focuses on the group causing the displacement we just reported on the islamic state. in the following excerpt from "the rise of isis," we hear about warnings made to the iraqi and american governments months before the radical group took over iraq's second largest city. >> smith: in iraq's north, isis was eyeing another target: mosul, iraq's second largest city. months before they attacked, a kurdish intelligence official gave iraqi foreign minister zebari a warning. >> "tell maliki i have very, very serious concerns. the terrorists have established themselves.
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they have encamped themselves in the western desert near the syrian borders. and really, they are planning to formally militarily overrun mosul." >> smith: you took this message to... >> i took this message to him. it was a clear message of warning. and he didn't take it. >> smith: the white house, too, was warned. >> the administration not only was warned by everybody back in january, it actually announced that it was going to intensify its support against isis with the iraqi armed forces. and it did almost nothing. >> smith: ambassador jeffrey says that the obama administration said it was going to speed military assistance, but it did, in his words, "almost nothing." >> that's just not true. i mean, if you go back and you look at the record of what we were providing to the iraqis, there was a steady increase, whether you're talking about hellfire missiles, the apaches,
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they were held up by congress. we sought the expedition of that delivery to the iraqis. >> hellfire missiles started to come. they increased the intelligence capacity, but it was really not enough, to be honest with you. i mean, the united states could have done more. >> smith: then on june 6, 2014, isis sent several suicide car bombs into downtown mosul. ( explosions ) ( sirens blaring ) >> smith: ...along with isis fighters in pickup trucks. in some neighborhoods, they were warmly welcomed. ( rapid gunfire ) >> smith: the iraqi army, on the other hand, was seen as a shia militia. with no local support, the army had deserted by june 10 with barely a fight. >> they didn't know how to respond. they didn't want to respond.
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you know, these were people that didn't want to do any actual work. they were fat cats, i call them. they were people who were earning good money to basically sit at a desk and smoke cigarettes and drink good liquor all day. >> smith: in the end, it took only 800 isis militants, with the help of local baathist military cadres, to secure a city of 1.8 million people. even isis was surprised. >> the original intelligence was that isis did not come to invade mosul. they didn't come to take it over. they came to break a bunch of people out of prison. but what happens? they roll into the city and the entire iraqi army collapses. and they make some adjustments very quickly, on the spur of the moment, and decide, "wow, we're not gonna just get the prison, we're gonna get the whole city." then they just keep on rollin'.
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>> smith: for isis, the spoils included tons of u.s.-made military equipment. >> i don't think bin laden could've ever dreamt that elements even more radical than his own al qaeda would be armed with american m1-a1 tanks or 155-millimeter artillery or up-armored humvees or mraps. >> smith: from mosul, isis >> ifill: most of our coverage about ebola is focused on the human toll, particularly in west africa where it's killed nearly 5,000 people, about half of all infections. but there have been other repercussions as well, as the outbreak slows economic growth on the continent. one export that's produced near affected countries? cocoa. our economics correspondent,
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paul solman, sought to understand how those market forces are working, part of his ongoing reporting, "making sense" of financial news. >> reporter: prepping for halloween, 2014, in new york city, where the spiders may be less scary than what they're liable to snare: the urban cockroach. but more menacing by far, this year's candy scare: ebola in west africa, which grows most of the world's cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate. in times square, crossroads of the world, in this case, m and m's world and hershey chocolate world. some confectionery consumers were preparing for a possible shortage. will this mother stash chocolate for trick or treats because of ebola? >> of course i will. >> reporter: you will? >> sure. >> reporter: and all over town, chocolate buyers have been paying an ebola premium. has the price of this gone up? >> yes. two months ago. >> reporter: two months ago. so a kit-kat bar is now a buck thirty five, up a dime. on the
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sidewalks of new york, and the noisy platforms below. >> reporter: has the price of chocolate gone up? >> ten cents. >> reporter: up ten cents here too. meanwhile at dante confections, maker of perhaps the finest truffles in massachusetts, and surely the finest in north billerica, president santi falcone's one-year cocoa contract with agribusiness giant cargill came due in september. >> i almost fell out of the chair when i saw it, i thought it was a big mistake there. 26% percent? in 25 years, i've seen increases, 3%, 1%, stay the same. but god, not 26%! you know, that's a little crazy. >> reporter: and how much of that price increase did you pass along to your customers? >> i basically compromised by increasing the price between nine to 10%. and when the candy shop gets a 10% percent price increase, he'll have to raise it 20%. >> reporter: so now to the age- old question when markets move
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so dramatically: is the price shock au chocolat due to "fundamentals," a real change in the cocoa market caused in this case by supply disruption, or market psychology, unfounded hysteria? back in manhattan, david martin runs his own hedge fund, has been a commodities trader since the 1980s. this year, he explains, the price of cocoa had been rising and subsiding with the conflicting reports about the seriousness of the ebola outbreak. it began last spring, when the cocoa market. >> rallies up on rumors of ebola, comes off because they realize it may not be a problem, and then reported cases come out of africa and the market has a huge spike up. >> people start to panic. >> reporter: people buying cocoa, that is, for a growing global market, china in particular. and why wouldn't they panic? consider this c.d.c. map of west africa with, on the right, the ivory coast, the world's
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foremost cocoa grower. >> you have the ivory coast here, you have the bordering countries, in dark orange are areas with confirmed and probable cases of the ebola virus infection. a lot of the people who live in these areas come to work in the ivory coast to help with the harvest. if they fall ill or die, they can't come to work. if they do come to work and they're infected, they infect these people, there's no one left to pick the beans, deliver them to the port, and make this whole system flow. so the fear is that if you disrupt this commercial activity, this whole supply chain, that's going to cause the price to skyrocket. >> reporter: so, a rational market response to ebola, says nobel laureate economist paul krugman. >> of course it's disrupting the economies of west africa. why would you be surprised if the prices of goods coming from west africa go up? and if it's true, that yes, we don't, yet have a shortage, well markets are supposed to anticipate that. >> reporter: but wait: the ivory coast remains ebola-free and is actually ramping up its exports
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to take advantage of the price rise. and high-end cocoa comes from other places as well. in africa, maybe, but so what? >> africa is such a big continent. >> what's happening in west africa is not happening in east africa, what's happening in madagascar. >> reporter: madagascar, an east african island almost exactly as close to liberia as miami to the north pole, is where salvator volunteered for the peace corps, and then helped start a business to boost the local economy. madaycasse now makes chocolate from start to finish in madagascar, distributes to the u.s. from williamsburg. its face-to-face way of doing business buffers it from the commodities market and all the middlemen between grower and retailer. >> what we're doing is we work directly with farmers. when you take a lot of the middlemen out of that equation you're able to save money on both sides.
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>> reporter: and it's middlemen who hiked the price to those kiosks in new york, and the likes of santi falcone. do you think they were simply passing along to you the price increase that they felt, when they're buying the raw cocoa, or that they were taking advantage of a rise in prices to stick it to people like you? >> maybe they are sticking it to the little people. maybe, maybe not. but certainly i don't like it, and my customers don't like it. >> reporter: but again, is the price rise based on reality or imagination? to veteran cocoa trader david martin, in the short run, it's irrational market psychology, not fundamentals, that drives investors. >> some sort of hysteria that i don't want to buy this bag of cocoa, raw cocoa beans because it was handled by people that may have the ebola virus. they see the images on the news of people suffering and dying, and everyone just afraid to even go near them that's a pretty
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emotional story, i think. >> reporter: and surely, emotions play a hallowed role in market swings, like those lately in oil, or stocks. in the end, says martin: >> price movements aren't about the values of the companies of the stock market. they're not about the price of cocoa, or the price of coffee. they're about the study of human behavior and how humans react. >> reporter: so how might ebola cause humans to react in the cocoa market now that the winter holidays are coming? how about valentine's day and easter? the price has dropped almost ten percent but, says falcone: >> the salesperson for cargill, he feels that the market is still going to go further up. that the asian market is taking all of the cocoa, which is driving the market up. >> reporter: but your suspicion is that this was a scare, ebola scare, and then speculators jumping in and driving up the price? >> i would assume that, wouldn't you agree with me?
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>> reporter: given what we've heard, yes, i guess we would. but as with all swings, in all markets, how would you ever know? >> ifill: as worries grow about technology, surveillance and privacy, it turns out the government is watching your snail mail too. a new report from the new york times finds the u.s. postal service approved nearly 50,000 requests from law enforcement agencies last year to monitor mail. reporter ron nixon has been digging into that for more than a year. he joins me now. how many of those actually were satisfied by the feds? >> that's just it, we don't know a whole lot about this program beyond the numbers. the postal service and the postal inspection service and law enforcement wing has been very secretive about this
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program. >> ifill: did the program arise after 9/11 or previously existed? >> been around since the late 1800s. it's a centuries old program. what they have done is added technical prowess to the program but covers as a whole this very old law enforcement technique. >> ifill: mail covers, describe what that means, it's not opening your mail. >> it's not. what this is is basically metadata of snail mail. they copy everything on the outside of the packages and letters and that let's me know who you're communicating with, your banking information, credit card, that kind of thing, but it is not opening the mail. you need a warrant for that. >> ifill: it seems pretty low tech in some respects. >> it is. but also have very hi-tech, massive banks of computers that take pictures of every single letter and package that comes through and they do utilize that for law enforcement purposes as well. >> ifill: is that the reason
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they record everything or sit just the side effect? >> it's a side effect. you have this technology to do this thing they use it and limit it ways for law enforcement purposes. but the main purpose of it is actually to deliver the mail process. >> ifill: explain to us how it works. >> so, say i'm law enforcement agency and investigating you, i go to the postal inspection service saying i have reason to believe that miss ifill is guilty of something, or illegally running drugs. i send a requestor the postal inspection service, they look at it, they say, yeah, there's legitimate reason, they sign off on it then start the to take down all the information on the letters and packages that you are both sending and receiving so they can track who you're communicating with. as i mentioned before, banking information, property, that kind of thing. >> ifill: has it successfully
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curbed illegal activity in ways that you can cite some examples? >> there's been a number of examples that i've written about before, busted prostitution ring, busted drug rings, found fugitives. so it's legitimate law enforcement tool that everybody from the fbi to the arlington county police would use. >> ifill: you spent couple years working on this, why was it so difficult to get to the bottom of it? >> because it's a program that is -- didn't talk about a lot. we filed several freedom of information requests to find out the scope of this, and they still have not released to us how many times the fbi has requested covers. it's a program that they don't talk about a lot and they have actually -- >> ifill: in the interest of national security. >> but also because law enforcement technique they don't want to reveal exactly how it
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works. >> ifill: let's do the flip side. are there things that they stopped or been able to find out about are there ways that this program has been misused? >> yes. we did find couple of examples where the program apparently -- appears to be misused. there was in maricopa county, arizona, a sheriff and a local county attorney -- >> ifill: joe arpaio. >> the local county attorney there lost an investigation of various councilmembers. and one of them was council woman mary rose wilxox she just got a million dollar settlement for what the the panel from the supreme court there said appear to be politically motivated investigation. they used mail covers to track who she was doing business with and then invaded the business. >> ifill: for political purposes it was use to target someone allegedly.
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>> allegedly. >> ifill: allegedly. now, here is once again i'm going back and forth because i'm curious about the most famous incident of -- illegal things happening through the postal service is anthrax or any kind of substance being sent to public officials, we spent a lot of time talking abut that. >> right. >> ifill: is this something also used to are that purpose? >> yes, there's a program that they call the mail isolation tracking control system that was used to find janet richardson, the actress who sent ricil laced letters to president obama and former mayor bloomberg. they used to track her mail specifically to facility that she mailed it from, tried to blame it on her husband and they were able to prove based on when she sent the letters that it was her in fact. >> ifill: so this is obviously there are pluses and minuses, is there some way which this compares in any way to the
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nsa surveillance technique we talk so much about? >> in terms of scope, it's much, much smaller in scope and it can't coop up as much information the nsa does of course because we use the files much more than we use letters. as mail has declined we are using it less and less. still law enforcement officials consider this a very important tool. >> ifill: ron nixon of the "new york times," thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a very different take on the federal reserve bank from the perspective of a con-man looking to steal billions. jeffrey brown has our book conversation. >> robbing a bank without touching any gold in the vault and not just any bank, the biggest one going, federal reserve. it's a heist that hinges on yes, monetary policy, a new thriller about washington lawyer who can't shake his criminal past.
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directive is a sequel to the best seller "the 500" author matthew quirk joins me now. welcome to you. >> thanks. >> you were thinking with is the -- what's the biggest heist i could concoct, what's the most money around? >> yeah. you quickly come to the federal reserve bank of new york it has about $250 billion worth of gold in the basement and what was really interesting for me was at the new york fed the real money is upstairs there's a trading desk there that is not very well-known. and it acts almost as the federal reserve system's gas and brake for the entire economy. >> you say the real money, because there's the gold then -- you're talking about is information in way that's being traded. >> right. that trading desk has balance sheet of $4.5 trillion and it backs the val you'll of all of our currency, the dollars in your pocket are federal reserve notes. when the fed acting on behalf of the government to speed up or
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slow down the economy they send orders to that trading desk called "the directive" they can out and sort of drive the economy where the fed wants it to be if you were privy to that information you could stand to make a killing without actually having to go in and put on the turtleneck and grape eming hooks. >> federal reserve which we cover all the time on this program but so famous leo pick. i remember a book called "the secrets of the temple" we think of the secretive temple. alan greenspan famously would say things that were intended to not be under -- so how did you find your way in? >> well, i did a lot of research and reporting on it. i used to be a reporter that's best way to procrastinate when you're writing a book. so i called around, i spoke to some people who worked at the fed and on the desk and i worked with for "the heist" the
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security experts and they're called red teams or penetration testers, really interesting profession because their job is to attempt to break in to secure corporate or government facilities and -- >> figure how it can be done. >> it was great. i said, help me break in to the fed. and they gave me all these tricks of the trade and it was very different than what i thought it would be. real 21st century heist. it revolved lot more around confidence games and gaining people's trust. >> that's the interesting part, you are dealing with the digital world, you're dealing with information at milliseconds matter, right? and yet so much of it goes back to when you are writing about heist, social context, social networks, human -- >> just confidence and seeming like you belong. at the end of all that i went up to the fed really to do some firsthand research and to take the tour. but i was waved through some of
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the man traps, the sort of security gates at the front. i found myself on an elevator full of employees and i said, well, i'll give this stuff a try. there was no key control on the elevator, i press 9, the floor with the desk, which i was very interested in i found myself rising up to the heart of the fed. i said, this is great. then, what am i doing, this isn't in a novel. sort of poke my head out and looked around went back. >> it didn't look like probably most exciting place where all the money is. >> it's so funny, they control the monetary supply there. and it's eight to ten guys, they're just sitting quiet office and it's really the heart of how the fed can keep the economy on a steady course. but, yeah, it's a quiet place. once you get past the gun and the man traps look like any other office or bank. >> there's the technology, there's the social interaction
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but then there's old fashioned picking of locks, right? which you get in to. >> i learned to pick locks for the book from some of these -- >> you learned? >> yeah. it's remarkably easy. it's scary easy. as soon as i ordered the picks, anyone can buy them i opened the front door of my house in a few flexes really? >> it was really carry. >> be careful what you find out as novelist. the research is a lot of fun. comes in many, too. >> let me ask you finally, what is it about the heist that -- in books, in thrillers and movies that continues to grab people. it seems they just -- they continually come before us. somehow people remain interested. >> it's such a great genre, it has set formula and you're guaranteed action and there's always a little bit of technology and some colorful characters and some close calls. and with this one i was really glad that i could do a heist and get the suspense that i love
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these sort of books. but also touch on something larger and hopefully leave readers with a few things they might not have known about the fed and how that system works. >> the new book is "the directive" matthew quirk, thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: president obama warned against ebola quarantine policies that might undermine u.s. efforts to stem the outbreak; thousands of mourners in canada paid respects to the soldier killed in last week's shooting attack in ottawa; 150 kurdish fighters from iraq headed across turkey to syria, to help beat back "islamic state" assaults on the town of kobani. and in virginia, an unmanned commercial rocket set to deliver supplies to the international space station exploded moments after lift-off above the launch pad at wallops island. flames could be seen shooting into the sky and initial reports
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say no one was hurt. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, in a west virginia town full of shuttered factories and other urban blight, a community garden grows under a four-lane highway. the farmers here believe that the local food movement is helping this struggling rust belt city recover and become healthy in the process. see a photo gallery of the community, and its fresh produce, on our homepage. and you can watch more of gwen's interviews with north carolina's senate candidates. those are on our rundown. all that and more is on our web site, >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we explore a new way technology allows teens to communicate that might be alarming to some parents. it's called sexting. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. find us on-line and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs
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